Fast-paced, bloody and unflinchingly brutal, 'Run' is a book you will not be able to put down. It is a scary and terrifying suspense thriller which wiFast-paced, bloody and unflinchingly brutal, 'Run' is a book you will not be able to put down. It is a scary and terrifying suspense thriller which will keep you on your toes the whole way through.
Rylee and her younger brother Hayden go on the run after their father is murdered and their mother disappears. They have been trained for this but nothing could have prepared Rylee for the truth she is about to discover. A truth which will change her whole life forever. I had my theories at the start about Rylee and her family and why they had moved so many times and assumed different identities but I was so wide of the mark that my original thoughts seem ridiculous now. The actual reason behind it all was utterly terrifying and shocking and very, very scary.
As I was reading 'Run', half of me didn't want to know what was going to happen next and the other half of me was impatient to tear through the story and see what lay in store for Rylee. She is a pretty spectacular main character. She is strong, courageous, determined and resourceful and she is brilliantly depicted as a whirlwind force of nature that has one goal in sight - to get her mother back. I was gripped by her journey and the way in which she refused to back down or give up, even when she was confronted by some horrible revelations. I enjoyed following her as she put all the clues together and came up with some clever ways of tracking her mother down.
The content of the story is extremely hard-hitting and there are some disturbing scenes in the book which I wouldn't recommend for younger readers. The ending in particular is full on and although it is brilliantly truthful to Rylee's character, did cause my jaw to drop big time. I may even have wanted to hide behind the sofa at times!
Gregg Olsen has written an incredible book and never once takes his foot off of the gas. 'Run' is the first in his Vengeance series, which will be followed soon by 'Hunt'. I can't even begin to imagine what lies in wait for Rylee next but I'm eager to follow her as she takes her next steps. ...more
With the Great British Sewing Bee back on UK TV screens, this book has arrived at just the right time. Following in the footsteps of last year's 'LoveWith the Great British Sewing Bee back on UK TV screens, this book has arrived at just the right time. Following in the footsteps of last year's 'Love, Lies and Lemon Pies' (which was one of my favourite titles of 2014), Katy Cannon's new book focuses on Grace, one of the members of Bake Club, as she deals with family issues, drama club and a love/hate relationship with new boy Connor.
Grace wasn't my favourite character in the first book, so I was a little nervous about the thought of her getting her own story. However, I need not have worried because I was very pleasantly surprised about her character development and the way we get to see what really makes her tick. One of the things I like about Katy's books is that she really gets beneath the skin of a person and shows you not to have pre-conceived ideas about people because they will always end up surprising you.
The sparks between Grace and Connor mirror those of Beatrice and Benedict in the Shakespeare production of Much Ado About Nothing that the school is putting on. I enjoyed the way in which they don't particularly like each other at first but gradually learn more about the other person and Grace especially, steps up and proves all of her doubters wrong.
It was brilliant getting to see the rest of the gang too. I loved the bits with Lottie and Mac and I'm hoping that the next book might be about the ever wonderful Jasper.
In the last book, we had lots of fab recipes to follow and this time it's sewing tasks which appear at the start of each chapter. I can sew a little bit but these made me want to pick up my sewing basket again and get started on a new project. I think other readers will love these too and it's a nice way to encourage people to have a go.
Sweet and wonderfully written, this is UK YA at it's very best. Katy Cannon has made a life long fan of me! ...more
'Now You See Me' is a psychological thriller by British author Emma Haughton. This is her first novel for young-adults which is inspired by a true sto'Now You See Me' is a psychological thriller by British author Emma Haughton. This is her first novel for young-adults which is inspired by a true story. I was actually already familiar with the real events behind the book which slightly spoiled things for me because I knew what one of the big plot twists was going to be. This meant that I didn't find the story quite as suspenseful as it might have been but readers who approach the novel with no prior insight would probably find it quite gripping.
The story is narrated from the point of view of Hannah, whose best-friend Danny went missing three years ago. No one has seen him since then and the police investigation failed to uncover the truth behind his disappearance. Hannah has always wondered if she could have done something to stop him from vanishing but she's over the moon when he eventually turns up after so many years. The only problem is that Danny can't remember anything about his missing years and seems somehow different to the person who used to be her closest friend.
The majority of the story is about what really happened to Danny, as well as focusing on Hannah and Danny's families and the impact of his reappearance on everyone involved. I found it interesting to see the impact on each individual but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already guessed the main twist. There was another surprise thrown in near the end of the book and I thought that was an intriguing and well chosen change of direction.
It's nice to read a British YA book but I wasn't completely hooked by this title as I would have expected to be from the blurb. That said, I think a lot of readers will enjoy 'Now You See Me;, particularly if you're a fan of this type of genre. ...more
This is the second book I've read by Frances Hardinge, after 'A Face Like Glass' which I adored. Although I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, thereThis is the second book I've read by Frances Hardinge, after 'A Face Like Glass' which I adored. Although I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, there is no doubt that Hardinge really knows how to craft a story which immerses you completely within it's pages and which whisks you away from reality.
'Cuckoo Song' is a creepy fantasy about Triss, who's not Triss. She wakes up after an accident with strange longings and cravings. She knows who she is but at the same time she doesn't. She recognises her mother, father and younger sister Pen, but the latter seems to look at her with true hatred and Triss can't understand why nothing feels quite as it should. As the story progresses, it twists and turns deeper into the fantasy realm where the truth about what really happened to Triss is stranger than anything I could have ever imagined.
Family is an important theme in the book. After the death of their son during the war, Triss's mother and father want to keep her at home, safe with them, but their behaviour is suffocating. Triss can't grow up while they are constantly fussing over her and trying to stop her from going to school or having any friends. Their attention is poisonous without them even realising it. The relationship between Triss and her sister Pen was one of my favourite things about the book. It starts off fractured and almost broken but things change for both of them and they begin to gain a better understanding of one another.
The story is a delicious blend of magic and fantasy which will entrance readers as they follow Triss on a journey of self-discovery and reconciliation. Although not my favourite of Hardinge's books, I was still in awe of the unique and original plot which kept me glued to the pages.
This book reminded me why I love the Bronte sisters so much. Their lives are absolutely fascinating and Michaela MacColl has done a superb job of incoThis book reminded me why I love the Bronte sisters so much. Their lives are absolutely fascinating and Michaela MacColl has done a superb job of incorporating biographical facts with fictional events to create a story which provides both mystery and romance.
The story focuses mainly on Charlotte and Emily Bronte, the two older sisters, although their brother Branwell and their father both feature. Charlotte is definitely my favourite Bronte. She is torn between her practical and artistic sides and feels a great sense of responsibility to look after her siblings. The book opens with her elder sister being buried and this has a huge impact on the decisions she takes in her own life. She assumes her position because she has to and you definitely get a sense of the worry that hangs over her about her father's precarious financial standing. Emily is more of a wild spirit, drawing inspiration from the beauty of the moors which surround her. She is headstrong and impetuous and often disappears for hours at a time while she explores the rugged hills and moors.
The setting of the book makes it easy to understand where the sisters draw their inspiration for their own stories, which at this point they haven't started writing yet. Certain events that transpire could almost have come from the pages of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. 'Always Emily' definitely made me want to pick up the latter two books for a re-read as they are big favourites of mine.
Well researched and with an intriguing plot, MacColl has captured the spirit of the Bronte sisters. This title will appeal to YA readers who are looking for something different to all the dystopian and paranormal books out there at the moment. ...more
I'm a massive fan of the Agent 21 series by Chris Ryan, so I was extremely excited about getting to read the newest instalment. Teenage agent Zac DarkI'm a massive fan of the Agent 21 series by Chris Ryan, so I was extremely excited about getting to read the newest instalment. Teenage agent Zac Darke is one of my favourite male characters and I couldn't want to dive in and find out what adventure he was going to become embroiled in next.
This time around Zac's old nemesis, Cruz Martinez, rears his head again. Zac's former friend, he is now his sworn enemy due to the death of his father. Cruz's movements lead Zac, along with Gabs, Raf and computer whiz Malcolm, to Africa, where they uncover a shocking conspiracy which will endanger the lives of innocent citizens unless they can stop it.
The story is set mainly in the African jungle, which was a brilliant backdrop because of all the natural dangers which awaited Zac and co. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them having to survive in the wilderness and struggle against the elements, as they face dehydration and exhaustion, as well as the threat from other animals in the jungle. It was nice to see Zac's training really kicking in now. He's able to use all of his new skills and abilities in the field and he never stops thinking two steps ahead. He even, on occasion, surprises Gabs and Raf with his ingenuity and quick thinking.
Each chapter in the book was fraught with danger and the story was tough and gritty. A real page turner, I found it hard to put it down as it was so gripping. Zac hurtles from one tense predicament to another which was extremely thrilling.
'Deadfall' was an adrenaline pumping rollercoaster ride of adventure and suspense. This is a top series and I love reading about Zac and his missions. I hope there are lots more books to come in the future! ...more
Dark of the Moon’ is the second book in the Shipwrecked trilogy by Siobhan Curham. I will admit that the opening instalment in the series didn’t totalDark of the Moon’ is the second book in the Shipwrecked trilogy by Siobhan Curham. I will admit that the opening instalment in the series didn’t totally wow me, although I found it enjoyable enough but the excitement steps up in this one which I devoured and really loved.
I enjoyed it much more than the first book because I felt like I was thrown right into the middle of the action. Siobhan Curham never once let up on the sense of danger which hangs over the group or the sense of unease that you experience from them being on the island. There were also a lot more intriguing and unexpected twists along the way which had me hook, line and sinker.
Grace and her friends are still trying to escape the island and the Voodoo Queen Hortense. When they leave on a boat, hoping to find their way home, they realise that escape may not be possible until Hortense’s plan has played out to its full conclusion.
There's romance between Grace and her boyfriend Cruz, plus friendship drama between Grace and Jenna who is struggling to hold things together. The other secondary characters, Belle, Todd and Flea also feature but I kept expecting something terrible to happen to one of them the whole way through.
The ending was a huge surprise. Wow! I didn’t see it coming at all and desperately didn't want the story to end. I'm in absolute shock and the suspense of what is coming next is going to kill me!
This is a sizzling, spooky and supernatural read which is perfect to slip into your beach bag on a hot, sunny, summery day. ...more
'The Fearless' by British author Emma Pass is pretty much awesome from start to finish. I was in a bit of a reading slump until I picked up this book'The Fearless' by British author Emma Pass is pretty much awesome from start to finish. I was in a bit of a reading slump until I picked up this book and it was just what I was looking for, a fast-paced story which led me on an exhilarating, terrifying and nail-biting journey. I haven't actually read Emma Pass's first book 'Acid' yet so I wasn't sure what to expect from her writing, but I loved it. The characters and the story concept were both brilliant and had me completely hooked.
I could definitely see the story transferring well to the big screen because everything was so well depicted and it had all the right ingredients to make anyone a fan of the series.
The plot is about a society which has been taken over by the Fearless - people who have been injected with a serum which takes away their emotions: fear, hate, love and their empathy for other human beings. Super strong and fast, they begin to destroy everything in their path, leading to families literally fleeing for their lives. The main character Cass lives on the island of Hope, where she and her younger brother Jori seek shelter from the horrors of the world. With her mother and father dead she is determined to protect Jori no matter the cost.
Packed full of suspense, the story hurtles along, hardly giving you time to breathe as Cass finds herself in some desperate and dangerous situations. I really, really enjoyed it and found myself unable to put it down. I was gripped by the adventure that unfolded but also liked the touches of romance and the strong bond between siblings that came across so well. It's nice to come across a British author who can more than hold her own with some of the most popular YA series in bookshops at the moment.
I'm extremely impatient to find out what lies in store next for Cass as the ending of the book signals more action still to come (I hope this isn't a stand-alone). I will definitely be along for the ride! ...more
This is the sequel to 'The Beautiful and the Cursed' in Page Morgan's series about the Waverly sisters. It feels like a long time ago since I read booThis is the sequel to 'The Beautiful and the Cursed' in Page Morgan's series about the Waverly sisters. It feels like a long time ago since I read book one, so I was pleased that pivotal events were nicely recapped at the start. This refreshed my memory of the characters and the plot so I was all set to read on and engross myself in the newest instalment.
There is a lot going on in the story as we follow Ingrid, Gabby and their brother Grayson. They find themselves becoming more and more embroiled in the actions of the Alliance, particularly Gabby and danger seems to be following at their heels. There is plenty of mystery and action thrown in to keep the reader enthralled and there is also a generous dose of romance which I loved.
Gabby is my favourite character in the series, so I enjoyed all the parts of the book which centred around her. She desperately wants to be a member of the Alliance and she wants to learn to fight and defend herself and others. She is stubborn and determined but also extremely brave which I admired. Her budding romance with Nolan was one of my favourite things about the book. They work so well together and I loved all of their interactions.
The will they, won't they romance also continues between Ingrid and Luc, although adding Vander to the mix turns this into somewhat of a love triangle. I can't wait to see how things will eventually be resolved between them.
I found the middle part of the story a little slow at times, but the beginning and the ending were so good that they more than made up for this. My absolute favourite thing about this series is still the wonderful setting of Paris in 1900 which lends a dark and moody atmosphere to events and lends itself nicely to the gothic and supernatural elements of the book.
If you enjoyed the first book in this series then you will undoubtedly find yourself hooked on the sequel which left me with a lot of questions still about how Page Morgan plans to resolve things for all the characters. ...more
This book sounded exactly like my cup of tea and proved to be a real five star read!
The story is about a group of teenagers who form an unexpected friThis book sounded exactly like my cup of tea and proved to be a real five star read!
The story is about a group of teenagers who form an unexpected friendship when they all join the school's new Bake Club. It centres mainly on Lottie, who, desperate to escape her problems at home, throws herself into her passion for baking - a way for her to feel close to her deceased father. Although she tries to keep the truth about her home life secret from her teachers and her fellow students, because of her involvement in the club she makes new friendships, finds romance and gradually learns how to open up to those around her.
I love the fact that the characters perhaps wouldn't have ordinarily have become friends but because of Bake Club they form a solid friendship through their shared love of baking. They begin to help each other with their personal problems and their bond with each other was something that I really loved. There are some great secondary characters in the story and I found myself wanting to know more about all of them.
The romance between Lottie and Mac is so sweet and cute. He's the school bad boy but underneath his tough exterior he is a caring and considerate boy. He's misjudged by a lot of the adults in the book but with Lottie by his side he begins to turn his life around and build a new future for himself.
What I particularly adored about this book was the way it combined my love of reading and baking. I am a massive baking fan and I never miss an episode of the Great British Bake Off, therefore I absolutely loved the bonus addition of some wonderfully tasty recipes. I've already made the pumpkin pie and blueberry muffins and the chocolate chip cookies are to die for! Like Lottie and co, when I'm baking, I can forget about anything else that I have to do and just focus on the mixing, beating, measuring and stirring. This is captured perfectly in the pages of the story and was something I loved about the overall book which was truly as sweet and delicious as a cupcake!
Katy Cannon's next book is out in February 2015 and will be called 'Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines'. It's already top of my list of books I absolutely need to buy next year. ...more
This book is a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher'. I wasn't familiar at all with the original so I really had no idea howThis book is a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher'. I wasn't familiar at all with the original so I really had no idea how the story was going to unfold and after the fantastic opening which had me hook, line and sinker, I was prepared for anything to happen!
The story involves twins Madeline and Roderick Usher, who are inflicted with a curse which has blighted the lives of all Ushers before them. When Roderick is sent away to school, Madeline is left alone in the house which seems determined to have it's revenge on her.
Bethany Griffin's personification of the house was excellent. It seemed to ooze maleficence and evil appeared to seep through the walls and floorboards. It was extremely creepy and incredibly atmospheric. It's certainly not a house that I would want to spend the night in.
The narrative structure was unusual and made the story a little difficult to follow at times. Madeline recounts events but each chapter jumps around to when she is at a different age. This meant that the plot unfolded at a slow pace. Because of this I found that my attention wandered in the middle and as it's a fairly long book, I kept waiting for something more to happen.
Deliciously gothic and mysterious, I was puzzled by some aspects of the story but wanted to keep reading because I felt like the payoff at the end was going to be worth it. I won't give anything away apart from to say that this is a book which will keep you thinking long after the final pages. I'm still not sure that I have everything straight in my head! I'd like to read Poe's original story now as well, so that I can compare the two.
If you're a fan of the gothic and the bizarre then I would recommend that you give 'The Fall' a read. ...more
I'd heard so much about this book and read so many positive reviews that I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. When it arrived I'll admit that II'd heard so much about this book and read so many positive reviews that I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. When it arrived I'll admit that I spent a good long while just marvelling over the absolutely beautiful cover art before I even cracked it open. It's so pretty and looks so nice on my bookshelves!
The story itself is a blend of fantasy and historical fiction. The main character Kestral, is the daughter of a general. At the beginning of the book she bids successfully on a slave for her father's household. The winner's curse is the hugely inflated price that she pays for him. Arin, the new slave, will change everything. I really wasn't too sure about Kestral at the start. She came across as quite snobby and superior but as her personality began to shine through, I liked her more and more and I began to understand her motives and reasons.
There is quite a lot in the first half of the book about the history of the country. It focuses on the divide between the ruling Valorians and the suppressed Herrani, who they conquered and turned into slaves. This is quite detailed and complex and I had to really concentrate to make sure that I understood everything but it added such a rich layer to the story and helped when trying to appreciate the different standpoints of many of the characters.
Although I found the beginning of 'The Winner's Curse' a little slow at times, as the plot progressed I became more and more absorbed. I thought the scenes between Kestral and Arin were wonderfully written and I enjoyed the push-pull nature of their relationship, as the dynamics gradually start to shift. The ending left me on tenterhooks and desperate to know what would happen next.
This is the first book in a trilogy which I will definitely be sticking with. I'm eager for the story to continue and will be rushing out to get my hands on a copy when the sequel is published. ...more
This is the third book by UK YA author Liz Bankes. It features my favourite so far of her female characters - the perennial worrier Rosie, who is abouThis is the third book by UK YA author Liz Bankes. It features my favourite so far of her female characters - the perennial worrier Rosie, who is about to move in with her boyfriend Cal and start a brand new internship in Oxford. Rosie worries about everything (and with so many changes going on in her life, there are a little of things to occupy her mind) and feels socially awkward a lot of the time. She’s been with Cal for a year and the two of them seem quite secure in their relationship until Rosie freaks out about the fact that man-eater Cleo is moving into the house too.
Rosie undergoes a big transition throughout the book. She is at that crux point where she has to decide what she wants to do with her future and she has to finally stand up for herself and not bow to the pressure that her Mum is putting her under. This is something that everyone has to face at some point and it was interesting seeing Rosie begin to develop confidence in herself and find her own chosen path. She also learns a lot about relationships and trust as she and Cal have to weather the ups and downs of their romance.
‘Unstoppable’ features lots of familiar faces from Liz Bankes earlier books. There’s Mia and Gabi, as well as Jamie and Dan. It was great to catch up with them and see how all the friends were getting on and in which direction their lives were headed in next.
This was a sweet romance and a great summer read. I missed a little of the polish of some of the US YA books which I read but I still really enjoyed this one. It had a great mix of humour with drama and romance. I read it in one sitting and look forward to my next Liz Bankes story. ...more
Tribute’ was a really unusual read but rest assured, it was unusual in a good way. Steeped in fantasy, Ellen Renner has created a fascinating fantasyTribute’ was a really unusual read but rest assured, it was unusual in a good way. Steeped in fantasy, Ellen Renner has created a fascinating fantasy world unlike anything else I’ve come across before. It took me a little while to become accustomed to some of the words and phrases used in the book but there’s a useful glossary in the back pages which definitely helped. About a third of the way through it all started to click and come together for me and that’s when the story really started to take off.
The central character, Zara, is a Mage. She is part of a society of people who have magic and can control the elements through telekinesis. They also have the ability to will their mind into the bodies of animals and birds which they can then seize control of. Zara’s father is one of the most powerful Mage’s alive but she has never forgiven him for taking away one of the few people she’s ever loved. In spying for the Knowledge Seekers she hopes to right the wrongs done against the non-magical society, who have been enslaved and are at the will of the Mage population.
I instantly liked Zara as soon as she was introduced. She thinks differently about things to everyone else and she’s willing to stand up and fight for what she believes in. She really grew in character throughout the book and I admired her for many of the tough decisions she has to make.
I found all the different factions in the book absolutely fascinating. As well as those who have magic, there are the rebel Knowledge Seekers and the Makers who live on the other side of the Wall. They are fighting a continual war against the Mages and are determined to protect their community whatever the cost.
Ellen Renner’s writing made the characters and their world really come alive. I was immersed in the story and on tenterhooks for most of the last part of the book. ‘Tribute’ is a brilliant start to the series which is set to continue in August 2014 with ‘Outcaste’. ...more